A few days after Aprils Fool’s day is probably a good time to talk about facts. At least one British performer has learnt that David Attenborough isn’t doing a series on Grime. What a pity: Attenborough’s pre-war accent speaking the jargon of that genre would be a linguist delight.
There was a time when April Fools was a big event, it still gets some attention, but it hardly raises the same level of interest or sense of specialness; more of obligation for an organization to be appear amusing and then measure it as retweets through social analytics. Since online video sharing made visual tricks fast, and mash-ups easy, it’s April Fools any day.
But the April Fools type of fact-bending hardly vexes anyone. It shouldn’t. And gullible embarrassment doesn’t last forever.
No, this is about important things like real facts, the things we learnt in school: whether a thing is or is not; if it is invented, fabricated, distorted, or interpreted in such way as to be wrong.
The intensity over this subject has passed in the last few months, but it won’t disappear, not if some people can still use it, and it generates lots of invective; outrage being the default behavior of this era.
The ire is rarely based on a dissection, of an analysis, which digs deeply, it invariably flames on a few words or usage. The anger may not be over disputed interpretations, let alone facts at all, but rather, the speaker, or the writer.
A basic dichotomy, such as right/wrong, good/bad, honest/dishonest for intricate arguments, often with complex data, is not feasible or applicable. Yet, it is.
The world is the totality of facts, not of things. That comes from Wittgenstein, who then says, The facts in logical space are the world. The world divides into facts. Even from such a basis the arguments progresses to greater complexity much later in the book he states, The law of causality is not a law, but the form of a law. Abstruse indeed, and sufficient to confound the fundamental objections of anyone who adheres to statements being either right or wrong.
What is perceived and understood, even imagined in the context of someone’s experience by and interpreter is more important. To a degree, solipsism seems almost unavoidable, something Ayn Rand thought highly appealing. Not that it should be.
Nearly 60 years ago, a Times’ headline declared that fog had cut the continent off. It neatly encapsulates the relative perspective of interpretation. Perhaps David Attenborough can do a series on it.
©Copyright Guy Cranswick 2017. All Rights Reserved.